Matador Cattle Company Earns Top Global Awards for Conservation Excellence

Wildlife Habitat Council Recognizes Exceptional Koch Ranch Programs

December 12, 2019

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Matador Cattle Company has been awarded the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) highest honor for its conservation and preservation efforts. At ceremonies held during the 2019 WHC Conservation Conference in Baltimore, Matador Cattle Company received two of WHC’s highest honors for its programs in wildlife habitat enhancement, restoration and conservation.

“The WHC Awards are always competitive and this year was no different. It’s not easy to be nominated and it’s even tougher to distinguish a single program amidst so many worthy programs. Koch Industries’ Matador Cattle Company truly represents corporate conservation programs that are making the world a better place,” said WHC president Margaret O’Gorman.

Beaverhead Ranch, owned by the Matador Cattle Company, encompasses 345,000 acres of owned and leased land in southwest Montana. The ranch’s enduring commitment to environmental stewardship was recognized by two 2019 WHC awards: the WHC Gold Program Award – the highest level of overall recognition of all certified programs – and the WHC Land Conservation Agreements Project Award for its westslope cutthroat trout restoration work. WHC Project Awards are given to the highest-scoring projects in each category.

“Matador Cattle Company is very honored to be given these awards among our global peers by the WHC for our conservation efforts, which as ranchers, we do on a daily basis. Stewardship and conservation of the land is simply our way of life,” said Damon Cox, Matador Cattle Company President.

Beaverhead Ranch is home to a diverse wildlife population and its conservation program focuses on providing sustainable habitats for a variety of animals by utilizing practices that work in harmony with ranch operations. Working with biologists from state and federal agencies, ranch employees address specific threats to species such as the westslope cutthroat trout, which has been identified by the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks as a “species of concern” and a conservation priority. A genetically pure species of westslope cutthroat trout was re-established on two miles of Bear Creek. Since the project began in 2002, surveys by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicate an improvement in stream quality and function. 

In 2015, the ranch team began working to establish westslope cutthroat trout at Peet Creek by constructing a passage barrier to prevent hybridization or competition from other fish downstream. Establishing a population at Peet Creek expanded the distribution in the Centennial Valley and helped meet statewide goals to preserve the species.

The 2019 awards further underscore Matador Cattle Company’s history as an international leader in land and wildlife conservation. In 2002, WHC recognized Beaverhead Ranch as the first ranching operation in the United States to receive Wildlife at Work certification for outstanding natural resource management initiatives. It remains the only ranching operation in the U.S. to hold this certification. In 2016, the ranch was also awarded for its habitat management program, receiving a WHC Gold Certified designation for their conservation programs as well as a nomination for the WHC Mammal Project Award for successful elk, pronghorn and deer herd management practices. 

For 30 years, WHC has been promoting and certifying ecological stewardship action on corporate lands through partnerships and education. WHC Conservation Certification® currently recognizes 700 corporate conservation programs in 49 states and 28 countries. The annual WHC Awards are the standard for excellence in corporate conservation and honor programs and projects that demonstrate excellence in the areas of wildlife habitat enhancement and restoration, and conservation education. 

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About Matador Cattle Company and Beaverhead Ranch

Matador Cattle Company is an indirect subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc. It operates three ranches: Beaverhead in Montana, Matador in Texas and Spring Creek in Kansas. The ranches total more than 460,000 acres and support more than 12,000 head of cattle and the ranching families who call them home. The company’s enduring commitment to raising extremely high-quality beef is matched by its devotion to preserve the land on which that beef is raised. MCC is unwavering in its respect for the history, lifestyle and natural resources of its ranches. 

Beaverhead Ranch has a rich and storied history. In 1865, it was established in an area that had been traversed by the Lewis and Clark expedition. The ranch has earned a Preservation Excellence Award from the Montana Preservation Alliance for preserving the historic character of its buildings, including an interior wall with signatures of cowboys dating back to the 1880s.

 

About Wildlife Habitat Council and the WHC Conservation Conference

Since only 10-15% of the world’s land surface is protected, private lands provide an essential opportunity for restoring and protecting biodiversity. As the only international conservation NGO focused exclusively on the private sector, WHC provides a framework for voluntary conservation action on a wide variety of corporate lands. WHC’s corporate members represent some of the leading national and multinational corporations seeking to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them. These efforts have resulted in more than 1,000 certified programs across 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and 29 countries. To learn more, visit www.wildlifehc.org or follow @WildlifeHC on Twitter.